As Congress was ending its recess and getting back to work in late February, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation brought Playworks and its message of a different kind of recess to Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.
As the largest funder of Playworks’ national expansion, the Foundation invited Playworks executive directors and program coordinators to increase our presence nationwide through Connect, their advocacy training programy.
Southern California Executive Director Darlene Kiyan and Program Coordinator Eric Alcala teamed up to share Playworks' impact on safe, positive, and inclusive playgrounds with California's congressional delegation.
Connect provides advocacy coaches for each Playworks team representing their regions. Trainings focused on the anatomy of a successful meeting with congressional staff, which included not only introducing Playworks’ overall mission for safe and inclusive play, but also sharing success stories about how our organization has improved the safety, academic focus and leadership of individual students in our partner schools.
Senators Diane Feinstein and Barbara Boxer and Representatives Linda Sanchez and Maxine Waters were just some of the members of Congress to whom we reached out. Playworks schools already have a foothold in these representatives’ districts, but with their help we can increase our visibility and open new networks of support — ultimately creating more school partnerships and supporting the movement for play. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Connect program does just what its name says—connects those who want to ensure more American children receive the positive recess experience they deserve.
Executive Director Darlene Kiyan and "Coach" Eric Alcala with Senator Barbara Boxer